Antidote for Alumapalooza


For those of you suffering an overdose of fun, friends, and adventure in Jackson Center, the following may offer temporary relief from indefatigable hilarity, and, like Beano® or Lactaid®, excess gas.

The Storm Team disaster, severe weather, catastrophic, tornado alert staff has turned on the stereophonic sirens and the three of us have descended to the safety basement shelter of our 1855 farmhouse.  I stare blankly at the ceiling, 2″ x 8″ joists of hand hewn oak beams, and wonder could this be the day ?  Really, the old house has stood for 156 years (56,989 days counting leap years) and this may be the big one.  I’m not making light of anyone’s misfortune and for the moment can empathize with the people of Joplin, MO.

Laundry table tornado emergency kit: wife, oxygen canister, Jack, candle, flashlight, cell phone, lighter, two beers, and a favorite photo of late mother-in-law

The warning subsided, so we left town, destination Rochester, MN.

Currently overlooking the Wisconsin River in picturesque, Guttenburg, Iowa, where barges float quietly toward the Mississippi.  Yes, that Guttenburg, honoring the famed printer of the 13th century, the same guy known for selling 21 copies of a well known, ostensibly non-fiction religious work.  He did not, however, ever reach #1 on the NY Times bestseller list.

Jack, driven to the levee in a Silverado Chevy, recalling his days with Rin Tin Sawyer aboard an old river houseboat

The ride north on US 52 is a memorable slice of the Iowan midwest; Garanvillo (“Gem of the Prairie”), Monona (“Garden City of Iowa”), Postville (“Hometown to the World”).  Vibrant small towns, farms, picturesque homes, farms, manicured lawns, more farms, active small businesses with neighbors sidewalk chatting, none of the buildings yet emaciated and now vacated by the “big box” phenomenon.  The largest sign entering the towns is either the list of community churches, or the line-up of service clubs; Lions, Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, Toastmasters, FFA.

Sun up on on the WI and IA border, at a scenic turnout overlooking the Wisconsin River

We’ve reached Rochester and already Jack is making friends with a neighbor, who, sadly, is made of molded water-extended polystyrene.

Yo, white boy.  Don’t you want a whiff of me ??  Hello.

Oh, to be at the Alumapalooza.